Posts from May 2001
Oh music, let me count the ways I hate you. Not only are you content with rattling on in every pub I atttempt to pickle myself in, but you enviegle your way into adverts, television even cinema. Why I believe even now some Australian knobnose is trying to reinvent that most hateful genre of movie – the musical. When said person was also the man responsible for Sunscreen (a joke which wasn’t funny before it was even written) I get angry. When he is also the guilty party for turning a Shakespeare tragedy into a fucking worldwide disaster by playing Radiohead, The Cardigans and The Wannadies on the soundtrack – well lets just say you wouldn’t like me when I’m that angry.
You probably wouldn’t like me anyway.
The government are strippers: OK, this may well not be the most incisive or heavyweight political analysis you’ve heard in your life. But the word ‘government’ has been out-of-bounds in commercial hip-hop for so long it’s no surprise the Neptunes don’t quite know how to use it. They try singing it like Curtis Mayfield would, high cool and impassioned, but they only sound like Damon in Gorillaz, their rat-a-tat motorbike nihilism just another pop cartoon. The “Lapdance” music is a kissing cousin of Jay-Z’s “I Just Wanna Love You”, buffed and polished to dazzle the ear, trick it away from the Neptunes’ technically weak vocals.
But stuff technicalities: “Lapdance” works. They may sing “politicians” like Damon would, but they rap “motherfucker” like Nick Cave in “Stagger Lee”, which makes up for it, and their ill-fitting tuffness is more endearingly – and nerdishly – appealing than the confident, competent strut of a Ludacris or Nelly. Meanwhile to make a song about political pimping into a hit, they’ve used every sonic come-on they know and turned “Lapdance” into a three-minute Neptunes’ Greatest Hits: beats rattling like marbles in a can, toy robot keyboards and paranoid stoner whispers. A very modern party broadcast.
Dancing About Architecture are back with an elegant new design and the second half of William Ham’s Metal Machine Music essay, too.
What-where-when redux: Places, a guide to the most appropriate music for anyplace you might find yourself. (You can add some, too, if you’re so inspired.)
Abroad: This post runs the risk of sounding like Al Murray, the Pub Landlord. So let me say first of all that I love Europe generally – the food, the open spaces, the comfortingly hostile shop assistants, the magnificent architecture, the baffling local cartoon characters, and the bars. Well, sometimes the bars. The thing is, if you’re going to set foot in a bar, it might as well be in Europe, where they do it best.
The key difference between the bar and the pub, it seems to me, is this (apart from the fact that bars in this country are full of tiresome fuckfaces): in the bar, beer is an integrated part of a greater leisure experience – eating, drinking coffee, reading the paper, etc. etc. This is also possible in the pub, but here beer is central and the other things are add-ons. The diminished place of beer in the social life of France, Spain, Italy etc. – symbolised by the fact that you can get it from vending machines – means that there is no real place for the pub, which is after all a temple of beer and beer culture. Further contributory factors: these countries often produce very good wine and in some cases produce excellent bottled beers too, both of which are for some deep psychological reason more suited to bar consumption.
That said there are pubs in Europe. “Pubs”. But you shouldn’t go to them, because they bear the same relation to actual pubs as that skinny edition of The Guardian you get in European train stations bears to the real newspaper. They’re all called things like “Charly’s Pub” or “Le Pub” or “Irish Pub”, which just makes you think (correctly) of the way the drinks in Repo Man had “DRINK” written on the label. The one we went to was called, with forbidding accuracy, Station Pub. It was outside a station. It was dark and odd and played crap French ethno-trance, or French MTV which did at least give us much Bunton-admiring opportunity, the French being remarkably willing to conform to teenage Brits’ fantasies of TV being somehow ‘dirtier over there’.
It’s hard to say exactly why we got creeped out and left (the ethno-trance surely didn’t help). There was just a curious sensation that at any moment someone would flick a switch and the entire bogus pub environment would turn out to be made of cardboard and fold up. It was just unnatural somehow. We went to a bar instead and felt a great deal more relaxed.
FT Relaunch News
When? June 21 2001
What? New articles, interviews and reviews, and an (ever-growing) selection from the FT archives. Plus I Hate Music, Pop-Eye, Am I Cool Or Not? and maybe other features too.
So what else is new? The Freaky Trigger relaunch will of course be accompanied by the Freaky Trigger Relaunch Party. This will be on the evening of the 21st of June and will ALSO be the launch of Sussed, an indie club night in Oxford at which DJ Cabbage, DJ Carsmile, and the mysterious DJ Cockfarmer will spin a load of indie records (the mysterious DJ Cockfarmer will spin other types of records too, at least if the hairy mob on the dancefloor will let him get away with it). “Hold on, Tom, that’s a bit indie.” you might well say, but fear not – because the Pre-Relaunch-Party Party will be held in a PUB with a BIG JUKEBOX and your humble publisher will have put on loads of POP.
Where’s the party? At Club Latino on the Cowley Road, Oxford – 10pm-2am. Pub TBA. The bus to and from London arrives and leaves RIGHT OUTSIDE this palatial venue.
So now you know. There’ll be a special page with all this info on when Steve gets the flyers done and I can be arsed to scan them in.
Several weeks ago, driving home after a long day at work, i was switching through the stations on the radio, stopping at 106.7 lite-fm when i heard one of those songs that makes you wonder if a) you’ve heard it before or b) you’re just crazy for thinking a). well, it turns out that the answer was c) both a and b. the song was the backstreet boys’ “more than that,” their current single. i had heard the song before but i hadn’t really heard it.
BOB DYLAN LYRIC WATCH – Positively 4th Street
This being of course, Sir Bob of Dylan’s most scabrous attack on those dim-witted, unpleasant and dull fools who call themselves his fans. Now some might say biting the hand that feeds you is not the smartest of moves, but then I think we are quickly coming to the opinion that – despite what the UK’s finest intellectual discussion fora the Daily Mirror says – Bob is a bit on the dim side. Anyhow, I rather like the following lyric.
When you know as well as me
You’d rather see me paralysed
Why don’t you just come out once
And scream it
Okay. Infact I’ll go one better than that Bob – I will write it in capital letters in bold on a website. (I screamed it on a busy thoroughfare in London yesterday and got an interesting look from a youngish policeman who only let me go when I explained that I was only fulfilling Dylan’s wishes, had imbibed a number of double G&T’s and his Mum would probably want him home for tea soon as it was well past eight in the evening).Ahem:
MR BOB DYLAN. I WOULD RATHER SEE YOU PARALYSED.
There. Does that make you feel better, Mr Paranoid Haemorrhoid?
NOB DYLAN’S LEGACY OF CRAP
Dylan Thomas Overrated Welsh poet/playwright who wrote Under Milkwood and much worse. At least he had the decency to kick the b. before his 40th birthday, unlike…
Bob Dylan Took his name from Dylan Thomas. Overrated Yankee poet/busker + sourfaced, superannuated guitar-playing drug-addled hippy. He provided the inspiration for…
Dylan the rabbit from overrated kids’ prog The Magic Roundabout. French guitar-playing drug-added hippy lapin. He was given his name by Emma Thompson’s dad – for more information, go and read tv.cream, you sad fanny. He provided the (lack of) inspiration for…
The Dylans Z-rated ugly guitar-based Sheffield indie band from the early 1990s. They were responsible for Lemon Afternoon and much worse. Also had the decency to call it a day before anyone got hurt.
Of course, any Bob Snobs reading this will point out that Bobby D has repeatedly claimed that he did not change his name in honour of Dylan Thomas. Of course he would say that. It’s like some teenager changing his name to Kryton and then claiming that it was totally unrelated to that unfunny arsehole from Red Dwarf.
BOB DYLAN LYRIC WATCH – “Hey Mr Tambourine Man”
Hey Mr Tambourine Man
Play a song for me
Jangle, bomp, jangle, bomp.
Anyone who has been in five year old music class will be able to tell you that – for sheer song playing ability – the tambourine is about as good as a piece of cardboard. Worse if Rolf Harris is in the neighbourhood.
BOB DYLAN AND ME – Kindred Spirits?
Now you might think this ragging on Bob on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday is in particularly poor taste. Why? Well if there is one artist in the whole world who I should like it would be Dylan right? Let’s look at the evidence.
1: I Hate Music. It is quite clear that Dylan hates music too. Even when he writes so called classic pop songs – say Mr Tambourine Man – he performs them with such lack of skill that he gave Tom Waits the idea that he too could be a pop singer. I detest the Byrds (which is fair since they all detested each other) but at least they managed to make a silken purse out of a sows ear. It must be remembered though that silk comes out of a catapillars arse.
2: I am an insulting and unpleasant piece of work. At least that is how I present myself on this forum. And the only person more grumpy, misogenistic and downright rude than me in the world is Bob Dylan.
Seems like a match made in heaven? Well there is the age difference of course. Not to mention the vague possibility that if we had offspring they would turn out as bad – if not worse – than Jakob, peddling his piss poor Wallflowers hopefully into an early grave. And I must admit, I do own a Bob Dylan record*. But it was a rip-off, which is why I shall never make my peace with Dylan. Five years ago in a charity store I shoplifted a copy of Blood On the Tracks on vinyl. Took it home with baited breath, slid it out of the cover – and what did I see?
A few scratches, the odd bit of fluff. By no actual blood on any of the tracks. I was going to sue him under the Trades Description Act but I could not find him (off on his never ending tour – it’ll end when I get my hands on him). So I just melted it down and made a pair of vinyl hotpants with it.
*Note – I do not actually have a record player.